Before I was completely finished working on the G14 2021 edition, I received the G15 I ordered. I was excited for sure, as this was the first laptop with a RTX 3070 that I was getting to test. Like the G14 this is a thin and light laptop coming in a 4.21lbs and .75 in thin. Unboxing was same as the G14 essentially. There is very little in the way of accessories ASUS sends with their laptops. I received a few pieces of documentation, the 200W Power Supply and the laptop. The machine itself has the following specs:
Here it is compared to the G14
Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS (Base 3.3Ghz-4.65Ghz Turbo)
RAM: 16GB 3200MHz
SSD: SK Hynix 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
Graphics: NVIDIA RTX 3070 80W edition
LCD: 15″ 165Hz QHD (2560×1440) Pantone Validated 100% DCI-P3 (Innolux) Chi Mei N156KME-GNA
Wifi: Intel Wifi 6 AX
Ethernet: Realtek GbE (Ethernet Port)
When I posted the G14 Review on Reddit, one user pointed out that there was no “Insert” key. And sure enough, it was true. While this may not be a deal breaker for gamers, it is definitely a hassle for anyone that plans to use the machine for coding or other purposes like that. Imagine how I felt when I pulled this unit out of the box and…. It didn’t have one either. It got worse. It also doesn’t have a Print Screen button either. This again, may not be a deal breaker for gamers, but I like to have a relatively standard keyboard when I spend $2000 dollars US on a laptop. Using the laptop during the benchmarks and other tasks, I noticed a number of other things that I was disappointed in. These things MAY be isolated to the laptop I bought of course, and may not be indicative of the model, but I felt it worth mentioning because they were rather annoying. First, the screen would, for no explainable reason, change color spaces while I would do certain tasks like screen capture using Windows Snipping. This typically ended up with the screen color having a greener tint to it. The performance profile would occasionally switch randomly showing up on screen. Swapping from Performance to Turbo and back. The touchpad was less than stellar on registering clicks and movement. The last thing was that while the fingerprint reader was horrible at figuring out my fingerprint. To be clear the G14’s wasn’t great, but this one was worse. Along with the lack of certain keys, the keyboard didn’t have the same feel as the G14. It was less “clicky” – wasn’t quite as nice to type on. My personal thoughts on this – while one of things might be forgivable, when you have all of these – especially on a higher end/cost laptop – it most definitely isn’t and I will most likely be returning this one.
The laptop itself looks nice, and the addition of the RGB keyboard is appreciated. It is also MUCH better lit and even than the G14s. It is very light and thin, while still feeling strong. My own personal preference is the dark grey is nicer looking than the grey/white combination and it resists fingerprints well. It has more ports than the G14, with more real estate available, and that’s greatly appreciated. The touchpad is larger than the G14’s but with the aforementioned issues. The speakers sound a bit better than the G14, but are still not very loud. The LCD panel is a (Innolux) Chi Mei N156KME-GNA 8-bit panel. Brightness sits about 300 nits making this less than a premium panel, in my opinion. It’s better than some of the others we’ve had to endure in AMD laptops, but compared to the 5-600 nit screens in XPSs or other Intel gaming laptops, I feel this seems inadequate. ASUS once again makes sure you have a button for their Aura software, and their Armory Crate software. And they DID make a Microsoft Windows 10 shortcut built into the FN-F6 key to open up Snipping. I guess that’s to make up for lack of a Print Screen key. As usual no webcam. While part of me doesn’t care (since 99% of the time those webcams are junk), in the middle of all the things going on in the world with videoconferencing happening as much as it does now, I’d at least like to have something.
Performance-wise the machine acquitted itself well. There was a definite jump in graphics performance. CPU performance compared to the G14 remained about the same. This was relatively expected since it is the same processor. The Ryzen 9 in this machine understandably did better thermally, having more room in the case to have better cooling. Noted temperatures during benchmarking staying mid-80s vs the 94C achieved in the G14. I also tried to include a few more data points around game benchmarks taken as a suggestion from another Redditor. While not being as encompassing as I’d like it should help a bit since I went back and did these benchmarks on both machines and on my HP Omen 15 2020 edition (4800H / 1660Ti).
Starting with PC Mark 10. This was closer than I was expecting. Apparently, graphics plays less a role in this than I thought. I figured I’d get the processor benchmarks out of the way first since they are relatively close (since they are the exact same processor)
Next Cinebench R20
I added Cinebench R23 as well even though I didn’t have numbers for the old G14. I figure the HP Omen will be close enough to make an accurate comparison.
Next Up Time Spy and this is where we start to determine if this machine is worth the $400 additional price.
So here is about a 22% performance gain over the 3060. Next Firestrike.
Here there is a 21% boost in performance as well. Next up Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark. I performed this at 1080p for all the machines and seem to be hitting upon a different limitation other than video. I think due to the lower resolution we are using mainly CPU and won’t see additional benefits unless we jump to higher resolutions. This is a problem if using the built-in panel if at 1080p of course.
The next benchmark is the Heaven Benchmark from Unigine. I did test it at 1440p as well on the G15 just to show you the difference between 1080p and 1440p.
Another 24% performance increase. Even at 1440p the 3070’s extra muscle shows up and gives a very nice frame rate. Next – some of the new benchmarks. First one up, the Alien vs Predator Benchmark.
This one jumped up in performance quite a bit with a 35% performance jump. Not bad at all. Next Final Fantasy XV.
This benchmark shows a 33.7% increase in performance. Next X3 Terran Conflict
This one only ended up being a 3% increase. What’s interesting is there wasn’t a huge drop when switched to 1440p. I believe this ended up being CPU bound as well. Last up is Capcom’s Monster Hunter. Not the other one.
This was a massive 60% increase of FPS. The true flex is even at 1440p it still outperforms the 3060. Next are the benchmarks for the Hynix SSD
Overall, it’s a top tier disk ASUS decided to use. Kudos for sure. The Memory used onboard is Samsung 3200Mhz RAM and the timings are 22-22-22-52. The memory Chip in the slot is Micron and same timings.
Is this machine fast? Yep. It is definitely quite a bit faster than the 3060. Is it worth the increase in price? Here are a list of the pros and cons as per my unit.
There is a lot of Pros for the 28% increase in price. I do wish I was able to procure a better working unit. Some of those problems might be attributed to Windows management and drivers, but ultimately a lot of these are how ASUS or the components chosen interact. The machine itself is a well put together unit and has a lot going for it, aesthetically and performance-wise. I love the performance increase of the Cezanne series of processors and love the higher variety of laptops coming out with them. I am definitely happy with higher end video cards being available with the AMD processor. I am looking forward to seeing more laptops come out with higher tier LCD panels as well, which I feel they will as the market matures and more of the public realizes the benefits of AMD processors.